Menstuff® has compiled information, books and resources on the
issue of abuse.
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The Big Secret
About Male Sexual
Myths about Male Sexual
Sexual Abuse of Boys
What To Do
Smacking Hurts Parents
National Clearinghouse on
Child Abuse and Neglect Information
Information on Child
Stand for Children
Treatment for Child Abusers
Breakdown of Substantiated Cases of Child
Protecting Children from Abuse
Impact from False
Snippets on Child Abuse
The Story of the Blue
Things You Can Do to Prevent Child
Stop Being a Victim
Related Issues: Talking With Kids
About Tough Issues, Abued Boys,
Ritual Abuse, Sexual
Abuse, Sexual Harassment,
Violence, Women's Violence and
Books - Abuse -
Boys, Abuse -
Children, Abuse -
MPD, Abuse -
Harassment, and Women's
& Periodicals - on Child, Elder, Emotional,
Religious, and Sexual Abuse and Trauma
Sticker - Make the World Safe for Children
Definitions of Abuse
Let's look at the five main definitions of abuse, emotional,
intellectual, physical, sexual and spiritual, derived primarily from
within the Recovery
- Emotional: Major caregiver
refuses to let child express feelings, shames a child for his/her
feelings or demonstrates improper expression of his/her feelings
in front of the child. Denying noncustodial parent unencumbered
- Intellectual: Attacks on the
child's thinking process, over-control of the expression of the
child's thoughts and failure on the part of the major caregiver to
teach logical thinking and problem solving.
- Physical: includes abject, use of
implements, face slapping, shaking, hair pulling, head banging,
tickling into hysteria, lack of appropriate physical nurturing and
intrusive procedures. Request for information on services:
for men battered by men; men battered by women, for male batterers
and for female batterers. See the issue of Abuse
- Physical and Domestic
Violence and resources for Alternatives
- Sexual: "Physical sexual" involving
intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, masturbation of the child, having
a child masturbate an adult, sexual touching (fondling), sexual
kissing and sexual hugging; "overt/explicit" involving voyeurism
or exhibitionism; "covert" involving verbal sexual abuse or lack
of appropriate boundary setting with the child; "Emotional sexual"
involving emotional enmeshment by the parent, child witness to
sexual abuse or not providing appropriate and healthy sexuality
information Request information on services: men molested
as children; men incested as children; men raped as children or
adults (by a male; by a female); women molested as children; women
incested as children; women raped as children or adults (by a
male; by a female); partners of male incest/molestation survivors;
partners of female incest/molestation survivors. See Issues on
Incest & Molestation, and
- Spiritual: Major caregiver
disrespectful of child's reality and demands to be the child's
Higher Power; perfection demanded of the child; child is over
controlled; child is ignored, neglected or abandoned; child is
indulged; religious addiction of the major caregiver; abuse at the
hands of a religious caregiver; major caregiver does not follow
stated family rules or values; and shifting rules or hidden rules
in the family. Request information on services for
people ritually abused as a child (including circumcision). See
Issues on Ritual Abuse and
We all probably have one or more examples of at least one of these
in our lives.
Breakdown of Substantiated Cases of Child
The following breaks down the percent of substantiated cases of child
abuse and neglect but type - 1993 NCPCA Annual Survey
- Neglect - 47%
- Physical abuse - 25%
- Sexual Abuse - 15%
- Emotional Abuse - 4%
- Other - 10%
Protecting Children from Abuse
On December 15, 1997, the cover of People magazine showed the
solemn and frightened face of a two-year-old named Peter who was on
his way to a New York City shelter after violence broke out in his
home. The article inside the magazine, called "A Day in the
Life," was unusual in its approach to the emotional issue of child
abuse. Rather than give a wrenching account of Peter's experiences,
it focused on the unseen adult holding Peter's hand - on of the child
protection caseworkers described here as "the last line of defense
for America's children." Responding to calls from doctors,
police, teachers and grandparents who believe a child has been
mistreated, not to mention parents who are misrepresenting the
situation to get back at their former partner, caseworkers knock on
doors, ask personal questions, look inside refrigerators, and check
children's bodies for bruises and burn marks. They have the power to
take children temporarily from their homes and parents, if the risk
of harm appears severe. They also have the discretion to determine
that nothing serious happened, or that it is safe for the child to
remain home while the parents are urged to change. The stakes are
high. Overestimating the degree of danger could needlessly shatter a
family and rupture the child's closest relationships. (Over 2 million
or the 3 million cases reported each year are unsubstantiated and
dropped). Underestimating the danger could mean suffering or even
death. The decisions caseworkers make every day would challenge King
Solomon, yet most of them lack Solomon's wisdom, few enjoy his
credibility with the public, and none command his resources.
The nation's fight against the heartbreaking problem of child
abuse and neglect is led not by Solomon but by child protective
services (CPS), the government agency that employs the caseworkers
described above and that is changed with investigating and responding
to allegations of child abuse and neglect. Child protection is a
function of state government that is ruled by state law but supported
by significant federal funding and - in many states - carried out by
local government entities. For simplicity, the generic term "CPS" is
used here to refer to these varied state and local agencies.
Compared to the schools that most of us attended and to the police
departments we see in our communities and on TV dramas, CPS is a
mysterious agency. We know it is there to tackle the "national
nightmare" of child abuse and neglect that most of us cannot bear to
think about. Few of us want to know the details. But without public
attention to those details, there cannot be a consensus on the
expectations, boundaries, powers or budgets that should frame
government efforts to protect children from harm by their parents or
The flurry of recent reports indicate that CPS is overmatched
by the scope and complexity of its task. The spread of substance
abuse among parents, rates of family breakup, deepening pockets of
poverty, and cuts in government services have intensified family
problems and reduced options for helping. In 1995, nearly 3 million
children were reported to CPS as possible victims of child abuse or
neglect - triple the number of reports made just 20 years ago.
CPS has the dubious distinction of being among the most maligned
public agencies. In 1991, the National Commission on Children
charged: "If the nation had deliberately designed a system that
would frustrate the professionals who staff it, anger the public who
finance it, and abandon the children who depend on it, it could not
have done a better job than the present child welfare system."
Expected to straddle two core values of U.S. society - the
protection of children and respect for the privacy of the family -
CPS is accused of both "unwarranted interference in private
life" and "irresponsible inaction" when children are truly
threatened. It is called incompetent, "confused, mismanaged, and
staffed with untrained workers." An inadequate knowledge base
undermines the actions of its staff. But, because children's lives
are at stake, CPS cannot stop its work while the public debates
its mission, or while researchers discover which interventions might
help which families. This plane must be fixed while it flies through
There are no easy or inexpensive answers to any of the questions.
Instead, the path toward more effective protection for children will
require public debate over appropriate societal goals related to
child maltreatment. It will demand a new emphasis within CPS on
prioritizing, decision making, and creating partnerships with service
providers. It will require an ongoing commitment to capacity building
and practical research. And it will take significant government
resources to create and sustain a safety net for poor families and a
service system for troubled families.
Snippets on Child Abuse
- In 1877, New York State passed a law to punish wrongs done to
children, giving anticruelty societies a mandate to identify
children who were being mistreated by their families.
- Children of the "unworthy poor" were saved from developing
slothful ways by separation from their parents through indenture
or placement in institutions.
- Reports of child maltreatment grew exponentially: Between
1976 and 1993, the number of children officially reported as
abused or neglected rose by more than 347%
- A CPS staff member must draw conclusions regarding the
validity of the allegations, the identity of the perpetrator, and
the condition of all the children in the home.
- Common resources tapped by caseworkers are emergency medical
services, domestic violence shelters, substance-abuse treatment,
emergency housing, mental health evaluation, child care, and
- Two essential ingredients justify intervention in the lives of
families: a child is in need of protection, and the parents or
caretakers are unwilling or unable to provide that
- A 1995 Gallup Poll of 1,000 parents yielded the estimate that
3 million U.S. children were victims of physical abuse by their
parents, or about 44 per 1,000 children.
- The National Incidence Study found that neglect is by far the
most common form of maltreatment, harming an estimated 879,000
children in 1993.
- Current estimates indicate that between 50 and 80$ of families
involved with child protective services are dealing with a
- As they get older; children who have been abused and neglected
are more likely to perform poorly in school; to commit crimes; and
to experience emotional problems, sexual problems, and
- Service funding is fragmented and inadequate; access to
services is limited; programs emphasize problems rather than
family strengths; and interventions seldom focus on the family as
- In 1993, legislation was passed that earmarked federal funds
specifically for family support services and increased the funds
available for family preservation services (Public Law 103-66).
This was a major achievement because it designated a specific
federal funding stream to support family-centered services.
- Not every family can or should be preserved; children must be
removed when families cannot assure their safety.
- The limited evidence available suggests that family support
programs have inconsistent effects both on children's development
and on family functioning.
- Intensive family preservation workers usually carry caseloads
of only two to six families, see families from 4 to 20 hours per
week, and can be reached by the family 24 hours per day.
- Accurate risk-assessment techniques are needed to identify the
cases in which chidden cannot be protected in their homes and in
which out-of-home placement is clearly warranted.
- Better data collection systems could connect assessment
information, intervention, and service experiences with family and
child outcomes, to learn which families do best with which
services over time.
- From 1986 to 1989, the foster care caseload in New York State
grew from 18793 to 47145 and in Illinois the foster care caseload
more than doubled from 1986 to 1992.
- To safeguard children in out-of-home care, better screening,
training and education for caregivers may be needed prior to
placement, even when the children are going to live with
- Informal kinship care - life-in, daily care provided by
relatives outside of the child welfare system - is provided to
about 1.8 million children in the US today, or 2.2% of the
- Analysis of a California data set show that, after two years,
43% of children from kin placements and 50% of the chidden from
foster care placements had returned home.
- Many kinship caregivers are reluctant to consider adoption,
since they reject the notion of terminating the parental rights of
their relatives, and argue that they are already "family" to the
- In 1995, New York spent $111.94 per capita for child welfare
services, while Georgia spent only $11.81 per capita.
- The foster care payment and adoption assistance programs
provide the only uncapped funding for child welfare services, in
which reimbursements to states rise and fall with demand.
- The incidence of abuse and neglect is approximately 22 times
higher among families with incomes below $15,000 per year than
among families with incomes of more than $30,000 per year.
- At the same time as pressures on the child welfare system are
likely to increase, fewer federal funds will be available to
support child welfare services - other than out-of-home care.
- Work-based public assistance programs can function as part of
a comprehensive web of supports for families and children, and
complement the functioning of the child welfare system.
- The goals of welfare reform, which is focused on adult
self-sufficiency, compete with the goals of the child welfare
system, which focuses on safe, nurturing child rearing.
- More than 70% of reported cases are closed by the end of the
investigation because the report was screened out by the hot line
or the investigator recommended closing the case.
- CPS agencies tend to prescribe specific procedures that
must be followed in each case rather than encouraging a customized
approach that takes into account the differing needs of
- At the end point of the reforms, it is envisioned that CPS, in
partnership with the criminal justice system and other agencies,
will respond more effectively to protect children in the
highest-risk cases of abuse or neglect.
- In Missouri and Florida, CPS agencies limit authoritative
investigations to the most serious cases of suspected abuse or
neglect, and provide assessment- and service-oriented responses to
- Since 1994, across the five Missouri reform sites, 80% of the
cases have been referred to the assessment track and only 20% to
the investigation track.
- If CPS shares responsibility for child protection with
community partners, does it also share accountability when things
- Reformers will have to devise new ways to track
accountability. Child protection is a very high-risk business, and
society's demands of the child protection system are high as
- To make sure that caseworkers are capable of exercising these
new responsibilities, agencies undertaking reform will have to
provide more staff training, upgrade caseworker job requirements
and pay scales, and consider reducing caseloads.
- Poor children, because they are less likely than their
wealthier peers to receive dental services, are at the highest
risk of suffering the pain and consequences of untreated dental
- By at 17, almost 80% of youths will have experienced at least
one episode of tooth decay, making this form of disease one of the
most commonly experienced.
- A small proportion of children experienced a disproportionate
share of dental disease. Some 80% of all cases were found in just
25% of 5 to 17-year-olds.
- A shortage of dentists who will accept Medicaid patients is
one of the most frequently cited reasons for states' failure to
deliver EPSDT dental services to poor children.
Future of Children, a publication of the
Center for the Future of Children, The David and Lucile Packard
Foundation. See also "Maltreatment".
The Story of the Blue Ribbon
Bonnie Finney, of Norfolk, VA took a stand against child abuse after
the death of her grandson in 1989. He was found in a weighted tool
box, at the bottom of a swamp, three months after he was killed.
Bonnie tied a symbolic blue ribbon to her van as a signal to her
community to involve everyone in the battle to stop child abuse.
She chose the Blue Ribbon to symbolize the bruised and battered
bodies of her grandchildren.
Today, the Blue Ribbon is recognized as a national symbol of child
abuse awareness. Tie a blue ribbon to your car antenna, on your book
bag, or display it at your workplace as a reminder that child abuse
can be prevented.
Things You Can Do to Prevent Child
Help a friend, neighbor or relative. Caring for children can
sometimes be stressful. Offering a helping hand can provide
Help yourself. Take time out. Don't take it out on your kid. Take
a deep breath. Know who to call for help, and keep the numbers next
to the phone.
When baby cries...Learn what to do if your baby won't stop crying.
Never shake a baby - shaking a baby may result in severe injury or
Call Child Protective Services (or talk to your therapist, lawyer,
health care professional, etc.) if you suspect abuse. The number is
on the inside cover of your yellow pages if you suspect abuse. It
often happens in public, almost daily in your local grocery
For more information, call 1.800.CHILDREN (244.5373)
How Harmful is Childhood Trauma?
Children are resilient, right? Though children can often
successfully bounce back from emotional trauma, certain conditions
strongly influence the extent of the emotional damage.
Psychological, Physical Abuse Equally Harmful
Abuse by an intimate partner can have serious immediate and long-term
health consequences for both men and women, according to a new,
large-scale study. And that abuse does not need to be physical or
sexual to be harmful.
Source: enter for the Advancement of Health,
Childhood Sexual Abuse in the Jewish
The history of the Jewish People is one filled with a series of
traumatic experiences. This includes one topic that up until now has
been taboo to discuss: Childhood Sexual Abuse.
Contrary to what we might want to assume, childhood sexual abuse
is not limited to the gentile population. It is also a Jewish issue,
and one that needs to be addressed. In the United States one of every
three to five women, and one out of every five to seven men have been
sexually abused by the time they reach their eighteenth birthday
(Editor: Not counting circumcision.).
Unfortunately, due to the fact there has been little research on this
issue in the Jewish Community, we dont know how prevalent it
is. Most mental health providers around the world who are based in
Jewish Communities, will admit that they have survivors (of childhood
sexual abuse) of Jewish origins as part of their caseload.
One of the major problems in discussing the issue of Childhood
Sexual Abuse in the Jewish Community, is that doing so threatens the
cultural perception of the wholesomeness of the Jewish family. The
time has come to break the taboo and allow the Jewish Community to
face reality and to begin the healing journey. While this process is
taking place, we will also be able to compile valuable statistics on
the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse in our community. It is
important to note that when we refer to the Jewish Community, we are
including everyone from the unaffiliated, Reform, Conservative,
through the Orthodox, "Charedi" and "Chasidic" communities.
It may be surprising that despite Israels world-leading
status in treatment of Post Traumatic Stress, the study of childhood
sexual abuse in Jewish Communities around the world is still in its
infancy. Over the past two years I've been working with years Na'ama
Yehuda (of New York). Our dream is to create an international
organization to address the issue of childhood sexual abuse in Jewish
As you might have noticed, the first phase has already begun, by
the updating of my web page for Jewish Survivors of Childhood Trauma
and Domestic Violence. hometown.aol.com/vickipolin/Page26.html
The goal is to develop an International data base/web page. The
second phase will be to develop and implement an international
conference on childhood sexual abuse. The third phase would be
developing a treatment center and on going educational programming in
Israel, the United States, and throughout the world. Our long term
goals is to have network of researchers, development self-help groups
and an international speakers bureau. If you are interested in
joining forces, please contact me at: VickiPolin@aol.com
Catholics more obsessive?
People who are devout Roman Catholics are more likely to show signs
of obsessive-compulsive disorder, an Italian study has suggested.
Researchers at the University of Parma found that Catholics are more
likely to engage in ritual behaviour than non-Catholics, and devout
Catholics the most. Lynne Drummond, a consultant psychiatrist at St
George's Hospital in London said many patients with
obsessive-compulsive disorder said they had had a strict
Source: London Daily Telegraph
Mom Strips for Her 10-Year Old Daughter's
Birthday Party Guests
Some moms hire a clown or magician for their 10-year-old daughter's
birthday party. But Melissa Balkcom allegedly opted for a lewd
version of "Truth or Dare" and, as an added bonus, performed a bunch
of naked jumping jacks for her young guests. Honest, we don't make
this stuff up.
Stop Being a Victim
If you are experiencing abuse from a loved one, empower yourself with
information to stop being a victim.
Sexual abuse in girls leads to later
Young girls who are forced to have sex are three times more likely to
develop psychiatric disorders or abuse alcohol and drugs in
adulthood, than girls who are not sexually abused, researchers
The study, which involved more than 1,400 adult female twins,
found that the sibling who was abused had a consistently higher risk
of psychiatric disorders, such as depression and bulimia, despite
being raised in the same family and having the same genetic makeup as
"These results strongly suggest that...childhood sexual abuse and
subsequent psychological disorders and substance abuse is indeed
causal," Dr. Kenneth S. Kendler, the study's lead author, told
Reuters Health in an interview.
Kendler and colleagues, from the Medical College of Virginia
Commonwealth University in Richmond, examined the psychological
impact of different types of childhood sexual abuse ranging from
exposure and sexual suggestions to unwanted intercourse. Their
findings are published in the October issue of the Archives of
In the study, women had psychiatric evaluations and answered
detailed questions about their sexual experiences as children. The
women's parents were asked about their history of psychiatric
disorders and their relationships with family members.
Just over 30% of women reported some form of childhood sexual
abuse, with 8.4% reporting that they had unwanted intercourse. These
women had the greatest risk of being diagnosed with a psychiatric
disorder or substance abuse problem, results show.
"The strongest association was confined to those exposed to the
most severe forms of sexual abuse," Kendler explained.
He noted that the relationship was only slightly less when other
factors, such as psychiatric problems or substance abuse among
parents, and family income were taken into account.
Sexual abuse was also more strongly linked with substance abuse
than with psychiatric disorders. Kendler speculated that sexual abuse
might affect certain personality traits that involve impulsiveness
and predict drug abuse in girls.
He also suggested that sexual abuse may lead some girls to become
sexually active at an earlier age and seek out older boyfriends who
might, in turn, introduce them to drugs.
Future studies, however, should help clarify the association
between sexual abuse and the increased risk of substance use, Kendler
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